The Hallmark Channel (headquartered in Studio City) has a flair for showcasing the most heartwarming and family-friendly original movies on TV. Lots of stories that inspire, entertain and celebrate life’s special moments are lined up to air between now and the end of the year. At the recent Television Critics Associations press tour, I was delighted to learn about the romantic gem Honeymoon for One premiering August 13.
Nicollette Sheridan has traded in the conniving image she got on Desperate Housewives to play a sympathetic character in Honeymoon for One. “We shot it in the stunning, wild Irish countryside. It was poetry driving through the country roads and going to the castles and breathtaking forests,” Nicollette says, still glowing about the experience.
“When I read the script, I loved it. It was an old-fashioned romantic comedy, and my character was just a kind, sweet, trying-to-find-her-way character. That was very appealing to me,” says Nicollette.
The blonde bombshell plays Eve Parker, a successful advertising executive in Los Angeles. Just prior to her wedding she discovers her fiancé (Patrick Baladi) is cheating on her — in business and in romance. So she calls off the nuptials, but decides to use her nonrefundable tickets and go on the planned honeymoon trip to Ireland by herself.
Handsome English actor Greg Wise, best known for Cranford and Sense and Sensibility, plays the manager and tour guide of the castle estate where Eve is staying. He sees Eve as a mishap-prone city girl who is adrift in the Irish countryside. That gave Nicollette the chance to show off her knack for physical comedy, which was a lot of fun for her.
Even more fun was the chance to go horseback riding while filming on location in Ireland. It was a great lure for Nicollette, an expert equestrienne who began riding at around age three, and who owns four horses.
Ironically, she had to play her character as a brand-new, nervous rider. Knowing horses as well as she does “was quite useful, because then you can do anything. You can feel safe doing something that looks very unsafe. I did all my own stunts on the horse,” she reports. Another bit of irony was that Greg Wise was supposed to be the horseman, and he didn’t know how to ride. “So I sort of helped him choreograph a scene chasing me,” she reveals, and praises Wise as a quick learner.
It was intense to get the riding sequences right, but Nicollette calls the time she spent heavenly. “I grew up riding, galloping across the English downs. So being in Ireland in that rough wild Irish countryside on this beautiful white horse — I fell madly in love with my co-star,” she says about the horse.
Despite growing up in England, the West Sussex-born actress had never been to Ireland before. During the weeks of shooting Honeymoon for One, Dublin was the base for production “where we found the people so friendly. I’m dying to go back when I have time to explore the country, and visit the castles and the seaside towns — and of course the Irish pubs.”
Back at her home in the Los Angeles area, Nicollette says she had stables near the Ahmanson Ranch, “which is thousands of acres that you can just go out and have a picnic, or go belting around the hills if the horses are in the mood. It’s wonderful. I get my peace and serenity when I’m out with the horses and my dog. I think it’s very important to be able to take in your surroundings and breathe the fresh air and appreciate the beauty of nature.”
Her love of horses has led her to get involved with Ride On, which she describes as “a wonderful charity for emotionally and physically disabled children and adults. It’s all about them bonding with the horses and riding. There’s so much for them to learn and to feel that love.
“There’s a very different kind of communication that occurs between man and horse that is very powerful and extraordinarily healing. It’s a wonderful place where people truly care and have devoted their lives to making such a difference,” enthuses the horse-loving star of Honeymoon for One.